Community embraces Aurora Pride Parade that nearly wasn't
Less than two months after organizers declared it wouldn't happen, the second annual Aurora Pride Parade stepped off to raucous cheers Sunday, a testament to a fundraising effort that exceeded expectations and delivered hope to for many in the community.
About 60 entries took part in the march, which began at East Benton Street and Broadway in the city's downtown. Hundreds of spectators lined the one-third-mile route to view and applaud the marchers.
"It's opened doors for so many people and I think it's wonderful," said parade marcher Patty Brand of Naperville.
Among the participants were city, state and federal leaders, musicians, lip-syncing performers, members of Human Rights Campaign Chicago, and contingents from more than a dozen churches and synagogues.
"I think it's awesome. It's really cool to see everyone supporting the LGBT community," spectator Eliott Haxton, 14, of Lombard said. "This is going to be my first pride parade, so I am super excited."
Organizers in April called off the parade, saying they could not meet the costs of a second year after the successful inaugural march in 2018.
But a mix of changes to reduce costs and a overwhelmingly successful donation drive allowed them to reverse course and hold the parade Sunday.
"We actually raised more than we intended," parade chairwoman Gwyn Ciesla said recently.